by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths
Last week, two people tried to explain to me why their religious beliefs were correct, and mine were not. The first was a non-Jewish woman from England, and the second was a young, Jewish traveler from Argentina.
The non-Jewish woman tried to convince me that without her man-god my sins would not be forgiven, and the Jewish man tried to convince me that buddhahahaha taught the proper path for all mankind, and without following his teachings I would merely wallow in the illusion of creation.
Although I explained to both of them what the Torah says, and why they were mistaken, they did not budge from their beliefs. This is the nature of belief. Belief in foolishness and belief in the truth employs the same mechanism. A religious Jew who believes in the Torah, and bases his spiritual life only on belief is doing fine, but his spiritual life is being bet on the same thread that those other two people are betting their lives on.
So, what is the difference between believing in Torah and believing in the religions of idolatry? Some Jews like to answer that those other stories are based on merely one man, or a few men’s experience, whereas to the opposite of this, the giving of the Torah was witnessed by millions of Jews standing at Mt. Sinai at the same time. But that argument is not as good as it seems because each of us did not get our belief from millions of people, but from only the one or two who taught it to us.
Then, what is the proof that our belief is in truth and theirs’ is not. We see in our lives that the Jews who follow the Torah go on as Jews. Their grandchildren are almost certainly going to be named Moshe, Avraham, Sarah, Rachel, and such. While almost every Jew who has accepted other religions, or even deviated from the sages’ teachings, their grandchildren will almost certainly be called Luke, John, Maya or Samsara. The point here is not that just their names will be such, but that in almost all likelihood, they will intermarry and have non-Jewish children.
But, what about those other religions? They see that their beliefs cause their religions to continue, just like we see that our belief causes the Jewish people to continue. What did I show them that contradict their beliefs, (not that it changed them)?
To the one who reads the Bible but told me that I needed someone else to die for my sins, I answered: “Fathers shall not be put to death because of sons, and sons will not be put to death because of fathers, a man will be put to death for his own sins,”[i] and “The son will not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son, the righteousness of the righteous will be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon him,”[ii]and “Everyone will die for his own iniquity.”[iii]
And to the buddhist Jew I tried to explain that this world is not an illusion, but to most, it is a delusion. I told him that an illusion is outside of your head… out there in the physical world like a mirage, and a delusion is within your head, like thinking that there is no Creator.
I told him, “Buddhahaha taught that all life is suffering, and the only way to avoid the suffering is to detach from the world. To the opposite of this, the Torah stresses that, when used properly, this world is the gorgeous, Garden of Eden. We are not to detach from it. We are to become involved with it, and to elevate it by using it for holy purposes.”
“They teach that everything that happens was destined to happen, and no matter what we do, each of us is always subject to our karma. And the Torah teaches that we can turn at any moment we choose, and when we do turn, none of our past will follow us. Since they teach that there is no G-d, they will not bother to ask for Mercy. Who can they ask? Thank G-d, we know that there is a Creator Who is forgiving.”
[i] Deuteronomy 24:16
[ii] Ezekiel 18:20
[iii] Jeremiah 31:29.